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The German Word for Capybara

by Baby Capybara

Have you ever wondered what the German word for “capybara” is? Well, fret not, because in this article, you will uncover the fascinating term that the German language uses to describe these adorable, giant rodents. Get ready to expand your vocabulary and impress your friends with this unique nugget of knowledge about the German language and its delightful animal vocabulary. So, without further ado, let’s discover the German word for capybara!

Etymology of the Word

The German Word for Capybara

Origin of the Word ‘Capybara’

The word “capybara” originates from the Tupi language, which is spoken by indigenous tribes in South America. In Tupi, the word “kapi’iwa” refers to the capybara, and it translates to “master of the grasses” or “one who eats slender leaves.” This name perfectly captures the capybara’s herbivorous nature and its preference for consuming aquatic plants and grasses.

German Translation of Capybara

In German, the word for capybara is “Wasserschwein.” This directly translates to “water pig” in English, highlighting the capybara’s semi-aquatic nature and resemblance to a pig. The German term “Wasserschwein” is a fitting description that captures the essence of this unique animal.

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Cultural Significance

Capybara in German Folklore

While the capybara is not native to Germany, it has made its way into German folklore and tales due to its fascinating nature. One popular German folk belief associates the capybara with luck and abundance. It is believed that encountering a capybara brings good fortune and prosperity to those who see it.

Capybara’s Symbolism in German Culture

The capybara is often seen as a symbol of harmony and peaceful coexistence in German culture. Its ability to live harmoniously in large social groups and its calm demeanor serve as a metaphor for unity and tranquility. The capybara serves as a gentle reminder for people to embrace kindness, cooperation, and peaceful relationships.

German Zoological Classification

The German Word for Capybara

Capybara’s Scientific Name in German

The scientific name assigned to the capybara in the German language is “Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris.” This Latin name reflects the capybara’s affinity for water, with “Hydrochoerus” meaning “water hog” and “hydrochaeris” translating to “water pig.” The German language, like many others, adopts the internationally recognized scientific classification system for animals.

Taxonomic Classification in Germany

In Germany, the capybara belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia, Order Rodentia, and Family Caviidae. The Caviidae family includes species such as guinea pigs and other rodents. This classification helps researchers and zoologists categorize and study capybaras alongside their closest relatives.

Habitat and Distribution

Capybara’s Natural Habitat in Germany

Although capybaras are not native to Germany, they have found a home in various zoos and wildlife parks across the country. These institutions ensure that capybaras receive the appropriate care and are provided with a habitat resembling their natural environment. Enclosures often include water features, vegetation, and ample space for social interaction.

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Distribution of Capybaras in Germany

Due to Germany’s climate, capybaras are unable to survive in the wild. Thus, their distribution is limited to zoos, animal sanctuaries, and private collections. These controlled environments provide the capybaras with the necessary conditions to thrive and receive the care they need.

German Terminology in Zoology

The German Word for Capybara

Unique Terminology for Capybara in German Zoology

In German zoology, capybaras are commonly referred to as “Wasserschwein” or “Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris.” This terminology is specific to capybaras and helps distinguish them from other animals within the same family or order.

German Vocabulary Related to Capybaras

To expand your German vocabulary related to capybaras, you can learn words such as “Schwimmratten” (swimming rats) or “Großes Wasserschwein” (large water pig). These terms further emphasize the unique characteristics and appearance of capybaras.

Conservation Efforts in Germany

German Conservation Projects for Capybaras

Although capybaras are not native to Germany, conservation efforts are still important to ensure the well-being of capybaras kept in captivity. Zoos and wildlife organizations actively participate in breeding programs and establish partnerships to protect capybaras in their natural habitats.

Capybara Preservation Measures

In Germany, the preservation of capybaras focuses on maintaining healthy populations in captivity and educating the public about their ecological impact in South America. By raising awareness and promoting responsible pet ownership, conservation efforts aim to safeguard capybaras and prevent their illegal capture and trade.

Culinary Uses in German Cuisine

Capybara as Food in Germany

While capybara meat is not a common ingredient in German cuisine, it can be found in specialty restaurants or international food markets. Capybara meat is known for its lean texture and mild flavor, making it a unique addition to certain dishes.

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Traditional Capybara Recipes in German Cuisine

German cuisine is diverse and influenced by various cultures, but traditional capybara recipes are scarce. However, some inventive chefs have created fusion dishes that incorporate capybara meat, infusing German flavors with South American flair. These innovative dishes provide food enthusiasts with a taste of capybara meat while adding an adventurous twist to traditional German recipes.

German Media and Capybara

Capybara’s Representation in German Literature

In German literature, capybaras occasionally make appearances, usually as characters in children’s books or stories about animals. Their gentle nature and intriguing appearance make them popular subjects in children’s literature, fostering an early appreciation for wildlife and diversity.

Capybara in German Art and Media

The capybara’s popularity extends to German art and media as well. It is often featured in illustrations, paintings, and sculptures that depict nature and wildlife. Additionally, capybaras have been showcased in documentaries and wildlife programs, providing viewers with a closer look at their unique behavior and habitat.

Coyotes, Sloths, and Other German Language Associations

German Names for Other South American Animals

Just as capybaras have their German translation, other South American animals also have their own German names. For example, “Kojote” describes a coyote, “Faultier” represents a sloth, and “Ameisenbär” depicts an anteater. These German names allow for easier communication and identification of these animals within the German-speaking community.

Relationship between Capybaras and Other German Language Animals

Despite the linguistic relationship between capybaras and other German-named South American animals, their biological or ecological connections might not be significant. However, these associations demonstrate how the German language encompasses diverse wildlife and the cultural importance given to different animal species.


The capybara has found its place in German culture, literature, and media, despite not being native to the country. Its peaceful nature, unique appearance, and symbolic significance have captivated the German population. Through efforts in conservation, education, and culinary exploration, capybaras continue to leave their mark on Germany, fostering an appreciation for these gentle creatures that grace the lands of South America.

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